By Philip Rucker
OXON HILL, Md. – Vice President Mike Pence forcefully defended the Trump administration’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday night, saying the law known as Obamacare is a “nightmare” and that the administration is committed to “an orderly transition” to a new health-care system.
Addressing a gathering of conservative activists in the Washington area, Pence sought to minimize the voices of the hundreds of people who have demonstrated against changes to the law at congressional town hall meetings across the country.
“America’s Obamacare nightmare is about to end,” Pence said at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Despite the best efforts of liberal activists around the country, the American people know better. Obamacare has failed and Obamacare must go.”
Pence said he and President Donald Trump are committed to giving every American “access to quality, affordable health insurance,” and want to replace the current system with one that allows people to purchase health coverage across state lines as they would insurance for their automobiles.
“We’ll have an orderly transition to a better health-care system that finally puts the American people first,” Pence said.
In his 21-minute speech, Pence ticked through a broad array of issues on which the administration has acted or plans to act soon, including cutting taxes, rolling back regulations, ending illegal immigration, expanding the military and restoring what he termed the “culture of life.”
Pence spoke of Trump as a historic figure in American politics, saying he is a modern-day Ronald Reagan. “Men and women of the conservative movement, this is our time,” Pence said.
Like the president, Pence voiced disdain for the media and sought to portray news organizations as the administration’s political opponent.
“The media, the elites, the insiders, everybody else who profits off preserving the status quo, they dismissed our president,” Pence said. “They’re still trying to dismiss all of us.”
He added, “This is not a government of the elites, by the media or for the establishment. What Nov. 8 showed, even if they didn’t listen, is this is still a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”